It's wonderful to see my dream of a cooperative network of HR professionals come true and I'm very proud that we're now the market leading HR franchise."
Sue Tumelty – Founder

Insights: Franchising

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Spotlight on Nigel Finch

Nigel joined The Network in 2008, leaving his Head of HR role in a national logistics company. He started with his home territory, Wigan and St Helens, and 15 years on he has since taken on Manchester City & Salford, Liverpool South and Liverpool Central. We caught up with Nigel to find out more about his journey with The HR Dept since he became a licensee.

What attracted you to The HR Dept?

I’d always wanted to be self-employed and work for myself because I wanted to be in control of my own destiny. I no longer wanted to be controlled by other people’s strategies and objectives. I just wanted to create a lifestyle that suited me with an unlimited earning potential. So, in May 2008, I decided to go solo and set up my own business. But quickly I started to think about all the things that went into building a business; marketing, website, pulling templates together etc. That’s when I found The HR Dept’s advertisement in the back of the People Management magazine. It seemed like a safer way of going self-employed with the tried and tested model, already established licensees and even offered employment tribunal insurance which, at the time, I couldn’t purchase as a consultant. So, it seemed like a more structured way of going out on my own whilst being supported by The Network.

What lifestyle has the franchise given you?

I only work 4 days a week. I don’t work Monday’s anymore and I’m probably doing 4-5 hours a day for the rest of the week. Friday is the next day on my list to be dropped. I’ve been able to have this flexibility because I’ve developed a team over the years and have been able to buy the office we work in. I have a director who manages the day-to-day activity, the clients and the team. Being an HR Dept licensee isn’t like having a job. I’m just doing something I love and enjoy doing.

The way the franchise operates, it suits no matter what lifestyle you want. You don’t have to develop a business with a team like a few of us have done. You can still build a successful business if you want to manage all the clients yourself and retire at the end and sell them.

What’s been your highlight since joining The Network?

My highlight is looking back at what we’ve created over the years. I’ve tried to create a business that I would like to be employed by. We’re very flexible, easy going and have introduced a profit-sharing scheme so we’re all working towards the same goal. A new member of staff recently said this is the kind of team you aspire to work for. And it’s things like that, knowing that you’ve created something that’s really special and a business I would want to work for.

How did you ensure you focussed on the aspects you enjoyed?

I was in a quite senior role in my last company, and I had two teams on two different locations who dealt with all day-to-day things like putting contracts of employment together, dealing with disciplinaries. And I knew that to set up on my own, I would have to go back to that initially and then over a period of time I thought, well, what do I not like?

I didn’t really like doing the administration side of HR so in 2010 I employed someone to do that part of the service. And then after a while as the team started to grow, I dropped disciplinaries, redundancy meetings, employee facing meetings and handed my phone over to the team. This meant I was able to focus on the aspects I enjoyed including business development activities e.g. acquiring Liverpool from another licensee.

What is your advice to HR professionals reading this post?

If you’re thinking about becoming self-employed and setting up your own business then it’s like that whole saying “if you don’t do it, you’ll always regret not trying” and that will always be there in the back of your mind. There are more successes if you go through The HR Dept than going solo but it still carries an element of risk so my advice would be to financially cover yourself for the first year as it takes time to build up. However, once the clients start coming in and you’re building relationships up, it’s like a rolling stone. There are more and more people referring you and we have companies now just ringing us or just emailing us who we’ve never met before, but they have heard of us.